Gareth's Tips

A Beginner’s Guide to Stepper Motors

Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales - Issue #99

If you’ve noticed a slight interruption in delivery of this newsletter, I am in the process of moving. For the next few weeks, newsletters will come out as I’m able and have enough decent content. I should be back in the full swing of things by mid-October. Please bear with me.

A Beginner’s Guide to Stepper Motors
Most of us who at least dabble in DIY electronics know about DC motors and servomotors. But the world of stepper motors can seem intimidating and overly complicated. If they are for you, check out this excellent beginner’s guide by engineer and educator, Jeremy Fielding.

Five Useful Shop Tips
On the YouTube channel, A Glimpse Inside, Chris offers such tips as using a paper towel inside of a piece of sandpaper to sand a complex profile, using a wooden sponge handle as an impromptu dowel, and creating a popsicle “story stick” for marking hole spacing that you need to transfer (such as hanging chargers or other devices that have keyhole slots for screws on the back).

Glue Myth Busted! End-to-End Gluing is STRONG!
In this fascinating video on Patrick Sullivan’s YouTube channel, he proves through scientific testing that, popular to common belief, gluing wood end-grain to end-grain does not create a weaker bond. In fact, it is actually stronger than a side-to-side or side-to-end bond – by 2 or 3 times! I’m looking forward to future installments of this Glue Myths series.

22 Tips for Using TinkerCAD
True confession: I thoroughly stink in all CAD software. It is one of those skillsets that is perpetually on my maker education to-do list. In this piece by our pal, Donald Bell, he runs through a series of excellent tips that can help me… er… you work faster, better, smarter.

Measuring Tape Refresher
Many of the measuring tape tips found in this article you may already know. Most of them I have covered in Make:my tips book, and in this newsletter. But this piece is a good deep introduction to measuring tape features and some great tips on things like using a tape by yourself, using one as a compass, and other handy tricks. Do you know, for instance, why there are black diamonds on many tapes every 19.2″?
On most tape measures, you’ll see a small diamond every 19.2″.

If you want to achieve equal spacing for 5 framing members within a 8’ span (some carpenters like to put five trusses per 8 feet, so the sheathing over the framing is stiffer), these are handy markings: 8 feet = 96 inches, so that if you want to place 5 studs equally distanced apart, you will place them every 19.2″.

3D Doodling with Trash Bashing
In this 30-minute video, Bill of the Bill Making Stuff YouTube channel, shows many of the tricks of the trade for scratch-building/trash bashing models, for tabletop gaming, or just for fun. Bill is the master of the BeadBot (robot models made from crafting beads). In the video, he introduces the concept of Doodlebots, where you start off with little-to-no idea what type of model you’re going to make and you just improvise as you go. Over the course of the video, he shows assembly techniques, gluing, the various parts you can get from scavenged trash, the magic of Greeble, weathering, and lots more.

Maker Slang
If you run across any tech terms, jargon, or slang related to making, please share.

Maker Christmas – That Christmas morning-like feeling you get every morning that you enter your shop/work area and look at the results of your previous day’s labors – at least when you’re really happy with what you did.

Handyma’am -We hired someone recently to repair some old metal bi-fold doors on a closet. The woman who came to do the work described herself on her card as a handyma’am. We thought maybe she’d come up with it, but it turns out to be a growing term for female repair people.

Book Nook – A bookshelf diorama built inside of an insert that slides onto a bookcase. Science fiction, fantasy, and horror characters/scenes from books are popular book nook subjects.

More on Moving
As I’ve mentioned probably too many times, we’re in the process of moving. If you haven’t done so in a while, you might be shocked (as I was) at how expensive moving boxes and supplies are. Three short wardrobe boxes? $40. One large mirror/art box (and we have a lot of art)? $25. One little perk when ordering boxes is that the boxes that all these boxes come in are additional usable and free boxes. Also: Did you know that ULINE will send you free samples of moving boxes (and lots of their other products) and those boxes also come inside of big, usable boxes.


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